Day four in Cheltenham and it has finally stopped raining. It is still freezing and windy but at least the sun is out, so after a few days tramping round the shops, off we go to Gloucester to see the docks:
Boring journey pouring with rain, mostly along the A40:
We planned to go to the nearby Asda to stock upon food and drink, but no chance, the place was packed with not much room to park a vehicle like ours, and no doubt crazy queues at the checkouts.
Got the bus to Oxford, 5 quid each return. Grey miserable weather, loads of people, cyclists going for the kill made this not a pleasant experience. Also, the town centre maps are not really very good. Oxford is probably very nice, but the odds were stacked against it on this visit and we couldn’t wait to get back on the bus. Note for the future – don’t get off the bus back at the roundabout, carry on to the next stop at the palace and walk back as there is less chance of getting run over.
The trouble with places like this, where the landed gentry or aristocracy fling open the doors of their country piles to the hoi polloi for a fee, is that it seems like it is all a cynical attempt to get money to finance their lavish lifestyles. Granted, it costs a lot to keep a house like this and its gardens in good order, and there has sadly been a lot of such structures fall into disrepair, there is always an argument that these places are too important to be left in the hands of families, and should be passed to the state for their upkeep and preservation.
When you wander around a French Chateaux and marvel at the opulence of it all, while thinking about the poor peasants who suffered building it, at least you know the aristocrats got their comeuppance in the end. In the UK that process didn’t happen, so we got Boris Johnson as a reward.
Anyway, in the case of Blenheim, it has to be said they should have a few more rooms open to the public, give this size of the place. Also, with all the history going on, it is very Winston-oriented – understandable, but a shame.
Good points are that there a plenty of staff, the eateries are good value with decent produce, and the shop has good quality items at not too ridiculous prices.
After an uneventful drive from Moreton-on-Marsh we got to the Caravan and Motorhome site at Woodstock. It took about 20 minutes to walk to the village, which was a typically attractive Cotswold affair, with some small independent shops selling interesting looking stuff. Also a Co-op for the basics and plenty bars and coffee places.
Tomorrow we will do Winston’s birthplace.
We are on a bit of a tour of the Cotswolds. A few days in Moreton-in-Marsh again. Wandered around the antique shops as usual buying nothing. Friday took us (on the bus) to Stow-on-the-Wold, where we looked at the Cotswold County furniture place, since we need some bedroom and dinning room furniture. Amazing showroom and we may go with them for the dinning room, but probably not for the bedroom.
Stow-on-the-Wold is not too bad, but the chances of getting run over are high, tourists wander aimlessly, and selfish pedestrians are just selfish.
We got the bus to Bourton-on-the-Water, an attractive and picturesque Cotswold town, which just happens to have a motor museum.
Dedicated petrol heads may be better off at Gaydon up the road, which has lots more cars, but this place is in a nice setting and is as much a social history and advertising experience as a motor museum.
The place is full of enamel advertising signs, most of it motoring related, but lots of other stuff as well.
Not only are the floors and walls full, we didn’t even see the Raleigh Chopper dangling from the rafters until after looking at the photo.
Just to top things off, here is a farmyard animal:
Another nice thing about this place is that it is not a regiment of exhibits like most motor museums – there are no ropes keeping you away from the items. There were also plenty of volunteers around willing to answer any questions. A return visit is a must to take in all the things we missed.
Tuesday is market day in Moreton in Marsh so we went for a look. Not a bad market. We got a trucker’s UK road atlas for £3 and a lovely pork pie. No photos of the pork pie as we scoffed it. The road atlas includes CCC campsites and CLs and some other sites as well.
This stall was a painful return to reality after five weeks in France:
Unfortunately for the traders, there was no cash available. There are three hole-in-the-wall machines here. The one outside Tesco has been out of action for days, the one by the post office was out of service, and the one at Lloyds bank was working, but had run out of money.
Back to Moreton in Marsh, where we were almost exactly a year ago. Probably heading home after here.
The A429 out of Henley was a bit rubbish with its potholes and surfaces. Much better after Oxford. Weather cold and wet. Nothing more to post about.
Rubbish weather. It has poured with rain all day, Might as well be Thames-on-Henley, it is that wet. No point in going into town with a brolly as the roads are flooded and we would get drenched by spray.
The M20 is still one of the worst roads in the country, which they have made even worse by adding three lots of roadworks between Folkestone and Maidstone. Why bother? It will just be a big lorry park after brexit. Idiots. To catch up on the fun, the M25, which already had an appalling surface, is now even worse, These roads need to be fixed, but no, let’s instead spend billions on “smart” motorways. Somebody is making a lot of money out of this and we wonder who?
Anyway, here we are in Henley-on-Thames at midnight, still pouring with rain, out of here tomorrow.
Could be worse, at least we have: